Pacific Discovery Gap Year Programs are epic!

Our gap year programs combine rugged journeys to some of the most spectacular places on earth, with authentic cultural immersion, language study, rewarding service-learning volunteer projects, and inspiring adventures. You’ll be secure in a supportive group environment and learn more than you ever dreamed.

These gap semesters are based on the concept of experiential education, and blend cultural immersion, personal and leadership development, volunteer and community service projects, ecotourism and sustainability focus, and transferable academic credit options.

They provide opportunities for meaningful connections with local people, pushing personal boundaries, and gaining knowledge of a country or region's history, societies and environments, facilitated by our knowledgeable Program Instructors.

If you are looking for an experience that challenges you, broadens your horizons, and merges cultural insights and environmental sensitivity with fun and adventure - come and explore with us!

Join us on a gap year program after high school or college. These educational semester programs are perfect for high school graduates, gap year students, college students, and graduates, ideally 17 -22 years.

For an incredible gap year, you can combine each gap year program with another of our exciting Fall Semester Programs exploring Central America, South America, Nepal, Thailand, Patagonia, the West Coast USA, and Hawaii & The Western United States!

Looking to compare our Gap Year Programs in Spring 2022? Check out our Gap Year Program Comparison Chart or get the full Spring Program run-down in our catalogue. Our newest Program Quiz can also help you find your perfect Program match!

Request Online Catalogue

For your peace of mind

  • Check out our full COVID-19 policy.
  • We have been running successful gap year programs in Spring, Summer and Fall 2021. The students shared their experiences in testimonials and wrote their stories down in blog posts - feel free to have a look! 
kara barnhart
Kara hard at work building a trail to a remote village in Nepal

“I can honestly say that I KNOW Nepal, not that I saw it as a tourist, but that I experienced all that it has to offer as if a Nepali myself.” I can't say enough good things when it comes to Pacific Discovery. Now that I've gone through the whole process of looking into the program, signing up, getting ready, traveling through Nepal and Tibet… and coming home… it is so hard to imagine any other way to see an area of our world. The experiences we had on this trip would be impossible for someone to have without Pacific Discovery's planning, and connections to people in the area. Every day felt like a dream; I will forever remember my trip as one the best decisions I've made in my entire life, and am thankful beyond words that Rachel and Scott have created Pacific Discovery and continue to offer these life-changing opportunities.” Read more Kara Barnhart, 2014
Syracuse University

Hawaii Gap Semester

Agriculture & Sustainable Living Program

✓ Get hands-on in marine conservation and restoration of local ecosystems
✓ Snorkel the reefs and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, manta rays and turtles
✓ Surf Lessons based in on the North Shore of Oahu
✓ Get outdoors and learn about sustainable farming techniques on a permaculture farm
✓ Stargaze on top of the highest peak in the world, Mauna Kea
✓ Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture by learning about the heritage, history and language

Spring Dates 3 Feb - 13 Apr, 2022
Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

Central America Gap Semester

Mexico, Belize, Guatemala & Costa Rica

✓ Volunteer with sloths and monkeys at an animal rescue center
✓ Explore the underwater world and become PADI dive certified
✓ Get interactive Spanish lessons to give you a more connected experience
✓ Witness volcanoes glowing in the dark from your tent
✓ Investigate sustainable agriculture and its importance in developing communities
✓ Go on a yoga and meditation journey by the highland volcano crater Lake Atitlan

Spring Dates 3 Feb - 13 Apr, 2022
Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

South America Gap Semester

Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands

✓ Bike and trek the Inca Jungle Trail towards the spectacular Machu Picchu
✓ Volunteer project with an indigenous community in the Andes
✓ Spanish language immersion while traveling through South America
✓ Rafting expedition on the Jatunyacu River in the Amazon Basin
✓ Help hands-on with a conservation and sustainability project in Peru
✓ Visit islands, kayak, snorkel and get up-close with local wildlife in the Galapagos Islands

Spring Dates 3 Feb - 13 Apr, 2022
Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

Thailand Gap Semester

Thai Culture, Diving & Elephant Volunteering

✓ Rewarding volunteer project working with elephants at an elephant sanctuary
✓ Learn to dive in the clear waters of southern Thailand
✓ Delve deep into Thai cuisine with an authentic cooking workshop and a culinary tour
✓ Work with an organization that helps to break the cycle of poverty in Thailand
✓ Hike and tube in the amazing jungle, rivers and lakes of Khao Sok National Park
✓ Explore the best islands and beaches in southern Thailand

Spring Dates 3 Feb - 13 Apr, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

Spain Gap Semester

Spanish Language, Cuisine & Culture

✓ Traverse Spain and visit the history filled cities of Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona
✓ Partake in service projects specializing in the agricultural issues facing Spain
✓ Spanish lessons and cultural orientation in Alcala de Henares
✓ Get a Pilgrim's Credential for walking part of the iconic Camino de Santiago
✓ Learn to dance the dance of Spain with flamenco lessons in Sevilla
✓ Experience Spanish cuisine like a local on a tapas tour and paella workshop

Spring Dates 17 Feb - 27 Apr, 2022
Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $14,495 USD
Availability Open

Hawaii & Western USA Gap Semester

Hiking, Culture & Conservation

✓ Explore the natural beauty of Volcano National Park in Hawaii
✓ Go hiking and learn how to rock climb in Joshua Tree National Park
✓ Get hands-on with sustainable farming and ocean conservation projects on Hawaii
✓ Get a glimpse into the history of our indigenous ancestors in New Mexico
✓ Catch waves off the Kona coastline during a surf camp
✓ Take control of the itinerary and determine your journey from Sedona to Moab as a team!

Spring Dates 3 Feb - 13 Apr, 2022
Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

Hawaii Mini Semester

Surfing, Agriculture & Sustainable Living

✓ Get outdoors and learn about sustainable farming techniques on a permaculture farm
✓ Prepare a local Imu feast where we take the food from ground to table
✓ Practice yoga and meditation in Hilo
✓ Surf Lessons based in Kona, the sunny district on Hawai’i Island
✓ Get hands-on in marine conservation and restoration of local ecosystems
✓ Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture by learning about the heritage, history and importance of canoes


Spring Dates 3 Mar - 13 Apr, 2022
Summer Dates 30 Jun - 10 Aug, 2022
Fall Dates 29 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $9,750 USD
Availability Open

Costa Rica Mini Semester

Surfing, Adventure & Animal Volunteering

✓ Rewarding conservation volunteer project working with an animal rescue center
✓ A kayaking adventure week through the Golfito area of southern Costa Rica
✓ Bioluminescence adventure on the coast of Costa Rica
✓ The opportunity to see dolphins on our very own dolphin spotting activity
✓ Hands-on marine conservation work in the pristine Curu wildlife refuge
✓ 3-day river rafting expedition in one of the best places in the world for white water rafting

Spring Dates 3 Mar - 13 Apr, 2022
Fall Dates 29 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $9,750 USD
Availability Open

Bali Mini Semester

Surfing, Yoga & Animal Volunteering

✓ Conservation volunteer projects working with an animal rescue center
✓ Go on a yoga and meditation journey in Ubud
✓ Explore the delicious local cuisine and the Bali cafe culture
✓ Surf Camp on the shores of Bali, famous for its sandy beaches and big surf breaks
✓ Take in the sights, sounds and smells from the colorful local markets in Ubud
✓ Create a more sustainable future and learn about organic farming at a permaculture organization

Spring Dates 3 Mar - 13 Apr, 2022
Summer Dates 30 Jun - 10 Aug, 2022
Fall Dates 29 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $9,750 USD
Availability Open

Australia & Bali Gap Semester

Island Hopping, Culture & Conservation

✓ Rewarding conservation and wildlife volunteer project in National Parks
✓ Yoga and meditation retreat in Bali’s tropical Ubud
✓ Island hopping and snorkeling in the spectacular Whitsunday Islands
✓ Try boomerang throwing and didgeridoo at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Centre
✓ Marine conservation and scuba diving on the world-famous Great Barrier Reef
✓ Learn traditional Indonesian crafts and try your hand at authentic activities with a local village community in Bali

Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

New Zealand & Australia Gap Semester

Canoeing, Surfing & Conservation

✓ Rewarding volunteer conservation projects in National Parks and wildlife reserves
✓ Snorkeling with turtles and tropical fish in Byron Bay
✓ An epic West Coast road trip with stop at impressive blow holes and Franz Josef glacier
✓ 3-day canoe journey in the Noosa Everglades, Australia
✓ Rock climbing lessons in the mountains of New Zealand
✓ A stay at Pacific Discovery's very own environmental education center in the Marlborough Sounds

Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

Polynesian Journey Gap Semester

Hawaii, Fiji & New Zealand

✓ Cultural immersion experiences in Hawaii, Fiji, and New Zealand
✓ Relax your muscles in natural hot springs and mud pools
✓ Bike tours, rafting and mountain biking excursions
✓ A deep dive into the history of the Maori at the Waitangi Treaty grounds
✓ Snorkel in the pristine waters of Fiji
✓ Rewarding conservation volunteer projects working with local villages and native species

Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

Nepal Gap Semester

Trekking, Rafting & Yoga

✓ 16-day trek through spectacular Himalayan mountains and villages
✓ Rafting journey on the Kali Gandaki, one of the holiest rivers in Nepal
✓ Yoga, meditation and Buddhism immersion at a monastery near Kathmandu
✓ Spot rhinos in Royal Chitwan National Park, home to rhino, elephants and tigers
✓ Explore Kathmandu’s World Heritage historic sites
✓ Volunteer project with language and cultural exchange focus in the foothills of the Himalayas

Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

Deep South USA Gap Semester

Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi

✓ Take a deep dive into the celebrated cuisine, music scene and cultural heritage
✓ Get involved in environmental service work projects specializing in swamp restoration
✓ Go white water rafting and tubing on the Chattahoochee River in Georgia
✓ Catch a live jazz show and explore the French Quarter in New Orleans
✓ Challenge yourself on a 10-day backpacking expedition on the Appalachian Trail
✓ Learn all about the invasive species removal and reforestation efforts in our own backyard

Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $14,250 USD
Availability Open

Patagonia Adventure Leadership Gap Semester

Climbing, Hiking and Leadership

✓ Enjoy the experience of living in El Chaltén, a remote region of South America
✓ Go on multi-day hikes around the Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy mountains
✓ Sleep under the stars while camping in the middle of nowhere
✓ Gain industry-recognized guiding qualifications
✓ Learn about top-roping and abseiling, and develop your rock climbing skills
✓ Earn your International Wilderness First Aid certification

Fall Dates 1 Sep - 23 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

New Zealand Adventure Leadership Gap Semester

Climbing, Hiking and Leadership

✓ Enjoy the experience of living in lively Queenstown, the home of adventure
✓ Sleep under the stars while camping in the middle of nowhere
✓ Gain industry-recognized guiding qualifications
✓ Learn about top-roping and abseiling, and develop your rock climbing skills
✓ Earn your International Wilderness First Aid certification
✓ Hike your way through Mt Cook National Park, Mt Aspiring National Park and the Fjordlands

Fall Dates 1 Sep - 23 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open

Southeast Asia Gap Semester

Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia

✓ Rewarding volunteer project working with elephants at an elephant sanctuary
✓ Explore the superb temples of Angkor Wat
✓ Experience a homestay with a wonderful family in rural Cambodia
✓ Buddhist meditation retreat run by Thai monks in Chiang Mai
✓ Hiking and boating in the jungle, rivers and lakes of Khao Sok National Park
✓ Explore the best islands and beaches in southern Thailand
✓ Help local students with English language support

Fall Dates 1 Sep - 9 Nov, 2022

Program Tuition $13,500 USD
Availability Open